The flock has been around for decades, at least since the early 1990s, and possibly got started when bird-lovers discovered their pet parakeets were too loud to keep in the house. Local lore has it that the birds winter in Maple Leaf and spend summer vacations at Seward Park.
The size of the flock varies, but there don’t seem to be as many now as eight or 10 years ago, when a dozen or more parakeets would descend on the neighborhood. Over time they have been called parrots, Crimson-fronted parakeets, Red-fronted Conures and Mitred conures.
Our news partner The Seattle Times posted two stories this week that should interest many, perhaps most, of us.
Today’s piece is on a pilot program in Seattle to reduce speeds on some arterials streets from 35 mph to 20 mph. As for major streets,the plan calls for: “Review arterial speed limits and reduce to 30 mph or lower.”
Seattle will try limits of 20 mph for streets in five to 10 residential areas this year — including a swath of Lake City around the library, and a piece of Seward Park Avenue South at Rainier Beach High School.
Cities may lower speeds under a bill sponsored by Rep. Cindy Ryu, D-Shoreline, that passed the Legislature in 2013.
This has been frequently discussed in Maple Leaf, but until the new legislation passed there was no legal authority for local officials to make the change. The argument is that many more pedestrians (or bicyclists) can survive being hit by a car at 20 mph than at 35-40 mph.
None of Maple Leaf’s streets are directly involved in this year’s change, but proposed future changes include part of Lake City Way Northeast in our neighborhood (green lines).
The plan, dubbed Vision Zero, involves a number of other changes:
The city’s broad traffic-safety effort will include slower speeds, more school-zone cameras, fewer right turns on red and targeted enforcement. The name, “Vision Zero,” refers to a statewide effort by law enforcement, government, urbanist and safety groups to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries.
The Times story is here. The full Vision Zero plan (pdf) is here.
Very few of us leave for work in the late morning or afternoon, but it’s not uncommon in areas with a large concentration of people who do shift work, such as food service or retail jobs. The University District has a high percentage, as do Northgate, downtown Seattle and many areas in south King County.
The story and map are here. Below is the 10 a.m. commute from Northgate.
* There WAS a plan to spend around $20 million to connect the neighborhoods across Interstate 5 to Maple Leaf and the Northgate transit center and light rail station via a pedestrian and bike bridge from North Seattle College to the station. Got that? (It entirely avoids the word “interagency.”)
* It ran out of money. Specifically, Sound Transit set a July 2015 full funding deadline, after which it would withdraw the $5 million it committed. Seattle failed to get a federal grant, leading to a cliffhanger going into the new year….
In a recent response, Sound Transit staff say they will recommend that their Board extend the deadline to February 2016. While not a huge amount of extra time, it will give leaders more opportunities to identify funding options.
Two different readers emailed to alert the neighborhood to possible scams this weekend.
Late this morning Steve wrote:
A fellow calling himself “Larry Anderson” called late Saturday afternoon to say that the utility bill for our son’s restaurant was overdue and our power would be shut off.
He said go to the drug store to buy a PaymentPak and call him back with the 10-digit number. “Larry” is probably in Belize or Florida….there is no such person working for the power company. I DID NOT buy a PaymentPak I DID NOT PAY HIM $400! I did call the FBI and I did contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The key is that utility companies do not ask for money order or paymentpak payments, especially on weekends when all the staff has gone home.
I wanted to put the word out that a man came to my door this evening (Eighth Avenue Northeast and Northeast 94th Street) asking “where we wanted him to deliver our free newspaper”. He said “they were offering free newspapers to people”.
I told him we didn’t take the paper and didn’t want it. He left without trying to come into my home, but immediately got into a truck and drove away instead of continuing on to another house as he should have done if he was in fact selling the newspaper.
This incident was very similar (not the same man) to an incident that occurred last summer at the same time of day/same day of the week (Saturday).
I reported the incident to 911 and she said they would send a car to do a drive-by. Just wanted neighbors to be aware.
KIRO is now tweeting: “Steady rain is moving out of Puget Sound and into the Cascade Mtns. Much drier evening w/ fewer showers.”
But North Seattle College (just across Interstate 5 from Maple Leaf on Northeast 92nd Street just emailed: “Northeast parking lot near the Wellness Center will be closed off due to flooding.Please remove your car if you are parked in the NE lot as soon as possible.”
Any other flooded areas?
Rain returns Saturday.
(Rain update: 0.86 inches this morning at Maple Leaf Life South.)
“The 5 day rainfall total for the mountains could be 10 to 13 inches in some areas, with 1 to 4 inches for the lowlands…. Winds will be southerly and gusty for nearly all areas tonight through Friday, with the strongest winds on the Coast and North Interior.
“Winds could be gusty again Saturday. Stay tuned to the latest forecasts for this wet and windy weekend!”
Probably the most significant West Coast heavy rain event of the winter will occur during the next few days, with Northern California being the hardest hit. Three “atmospheric rivers” will strike the coast between now and Sunday, with the middle one possibly being the strongest in years.
Overnight Wednesday into today 0.72 inches of rain fell at Maple Leaf Life South.
In more terrestrial pursuits - mail theft, John emails:
Found a big pile of stolen mail at Olympic View Elementary School playground. Included some folks’ tax stuff. I’d found more in early January along Eighth Avenue Northeast in the vicinity of the school and dumped near my house on Northeast 97th Street.
One neighbor’s stolen mail included a credit card statement, and someone subsequently tried to use that card fraudulently.
Now the police have announced more changes, beginning this week.
For the first time since 2008, the Seattle Police Department is shifting the boundaries of its 51 police beats. The change will improve officer supervision and public safety service, better align police patrols with Seattle’s neighborhoods, and achieve a major milestone in the department’s work toward reform with the Department of Justice.
Beginning January 28th, the department will increase the number of patrols squads and sergeants at each of SPD’s five precincts, improving each precinct’s officer-to-supervisor ratio.
One thing that might mean for Maple Leaf is an easier way to track crime trends.
Maple Leaf for years has taken up chunks, but not all, of three different patrol beats in the North Precinct: Nora 3, Union 1 and Lincoln 2 (see top map), making it impossible to reliably look at crime over time in just our neighborhood. (See The problem with tracking crime in Maple Leaf.)
It’s hard to say for sure, but the revised beat map (below) might place all or most of Maple Leaf into one beat, Lincoln 2.
As part of the patrol map realignment, the department will also revise neighborhood-based crime data available on My Neighborhood Maps, Tweets By Beat and Data.Seattle.Gov to reflect the new beat boundaries. The new data is expected to be available by mid-February.
SPD’s Tweets By Beat and My Neighborhood Maps will be offline and unavailable until February 2nd as part of the beat update.
The agenda includes briefings on the old Waldo Hospital site, traffic on Lake City Way, crime in the neighborhood, and new apartments near Northgate Mall.
Questions were raised over homeless camps in Thornton Creek, drug use and squatters in vacant buildings.
“A common problem with vacant buildings is determining who has the actual (legal) authority over the building,” said Officer M. Rios. Otherwise, “our legal authority to move somebody out is very limited,” she said.
Also, who responds to off-leash dog complaints at Maple Leaf Reservoir Park?
“We would try to de-escalate the situation first,” said Officer Nic Plemel, adding: “I have not personally responded once to an off-leash dog call.” (Which would normally be handled by the city’s animal control department.)
The officers and audience members seemed to agree that communication between neighbors is key. “Your neighbors are the best defense you have” against property crimes such as car prowls and burglaries, said Rios.
The January meeting of the Maple Leaf Community Council is held at Olympic View Elementary School, 504 N.E. 95th St. Free, licensed child care will be provided.
According to the council’s newsletter, the main item on the agenda will be a 45-minute presentation by Aegis Living on plans to build an assisted living facility on the grounds of the old hospital at 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 85th Street.
There will also be a briefing from the Seattle Department of Transportation on Lake City Way, and information on the apartments near the mall.
Police-related items being discussed in the neighborhood this week include squatters in a vacant house in the 9800 block of Eighth Avenue Northeast and a number of tents in the Thornton Creek woods behind the bus stop at Fifth Avenue Northeast and Northeast 103rd Street (across from Northgate Mall).
When we last wrote about it, the projected cost was $20 million, paid by a variety of agencies, including Sound Transit.
Now The Urbanist reports:
The Northgate Pedestrian Bridge, a pedestrian and bicycle oriented crossing of I-5 for the Northgate Link Station, is at risk of losing its funding in the summer. The Sound Transit Board placed an artificial time limit for the City of Seattle and Sound Transit to come up with a funding solution.
And it notes some of the benefits:
In recent years, new growth has been occurring at a rapid pace and transforming this area. Licton Springs also hosts North Seattle Community College, a number of office buildings, a hotel and some small retail. On the east side of this bridge lies the neighborhood of Maple Leaf, which also hosts mixed density, major retail outlets, library, and a community center. There is a significant draw between these two communities, and there ought to be a strong natural path for pedestrians and bicyclists to travel between them.
For more details, and to take action, follow the link.
The Urbanist also has a post on pedestrian improvements along Lake City Way Northeast, noting: “Lake City Way is an arterial street in northeast Seattle that has been chronically unsafe for all users. It’s also a State highway, so features beyond sidewalks and beg buttons for people walking are mostly an afterthought.”